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Title: Genome-wide cDNA and RNAi screening to identify modulators of responses to a novel Wnt signalling inhibitor
Author: Rudge, Felicity
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2013
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Wnt/β-catenin signalling plays a central role in the regulation of multicelluar organism development and in the maintenance of tissue homeostasis in adults. Dysregulation of Wnt signalling resulting in aberrant pathway activation is a key initiating step in the development of a diverse range of cancers, including colorectal cancer, and as such is an important target for therapeutic intervention. A novel Wnt pathway inhibitor, ‘MSC’, has been identified as blocking activated Wnt signalling, specifically through inhibiting the ability of CDK8 and CDK19 to activate nuclear β-catenin/TCF-dependent transcription. However, despite potently inhibiting Wnt-dependent transcription, the ability of MSC to reduce cellular viability was limited. This study aimed to determine genes that whose loss operated with MSC to reduce cell survival. A whole-genome RNAi chemical sensitisation screen identified 3 genes whose depletion in combination with MSC treatment conditionally reduced the viability of HCT116 cells in vitro. The outstanding hit of this screen was Histidyl Aminoacyl tRNA Synthetase (HARS). The identification of this enzyme as an MSC ‘interactor’ suggested links between Wnt signalling and the regulation of translation. BRAF and MED11 RNAi also conferred conditional sensitivity to MSC. Interestingly, MED11 is a component of the Mediator complex, a multiprotein transcription regulatory complex in which CDK8 functions to regulate β-catenin/TCF-dependent transcription, suggesting that mediator complex may be a key target of MSC action. A parallel overexpression screen was initiated to identify novel Wnt pathway activators, and subsequently used to map MSC resistance. Expression of the transcription factors GBX1 and HMGB2, determined to be novel regulators of TCF-dependent transcription, blocked MSC-mediated disruption of Wnt signalling. Overexpression of either gene in a clinical context might therefore be regarded as a contra-indication for MSC-class therapies. These studies have highlighted potential avenues for broadening the scope of MSC activity through the determination of survival and resistance mechanisms, thus the rational design of MSC-combination therapies could be of huge clinical benefit for the treatment of colorectal cancer.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QH301 Biology ; RC0254 Neoplasms. Tumors. Oncology (including Cancer)